MM Septet

I am very excited to announce the inception of my new septet project featuring some good friends who are also amazing musicians. We just recorded our first album at the legendary Systems Two recording studios in Brooklyn.  It will mostly feature my original compositions.  As a sneak peek / inside look into our progress I've posted some of the rough tracks below, though they have not been mixed.   You can download them for free by entering your email address. Enjoy!

Band Members

Clifford Lyons
Cliff is a freelance NYC saxophonist and has performed for a number of Broadway productions such as: Hairspray, Movin' Out, Grease, The Wedding Singer and In the Heights. He is a member of the Ed Palermo Big Band as well as Jim Cifelli's New York Nonet, and has recorded and performed with the Average White Band, Manhattan Transfer as well as many jazz, pop, and R&B acts.

Anton Denner
Born in New York City in 1961, Anton Denner began playing the saxophone in 1974. After early studies with Lee Konitz and Joe Lovano, he began to freelance in the New York area in the early '80's, performing at The Village Gate, Visiones, The 55 Bar, Birdland , and many other venues.

Anton has also worked with or played alongside with many of the great musicians in jazz, such as Ray Charles, Rosemary Clooney, Clifford Jordan, Mel Lewis, Al Foster, Norman Simmons, Brad Meldau, Bill Carrothers, Larry Goldings, Terell Stafford, Dave Stryker, and Bill Stewart, to name only a few. Anton has also been a featured soloist at The Napa Valley Jazz Festival, the Istanbul Jazz Festival (with the NY Jazz Giants) and the LaVillete Festival in France (with the Bill Carrothers Trio).

Recorded work includes the critically acclaimed Bill Carrothers Trio CD, Ghost Ships, Happy Apple's, Blown Shockwaves & Crash Flow, and John McKenna's Apparition, to name only a few. As an educator, he has served on the faculty of the Stanford Jazz Workshop, and has been an adjunct professor at Seton Hall University since 1999.

Anton is married to Nicki Denner, and resides in Bloomingdale, New Jersey.

Nicki Denner
Pianist/composer/arranger Nicki Denner has been a part of the New York Latin and jazz music scene since 1999. Before that, she was an active member of the Minneapolis music community for ten years. She has performed with Sheila E., Savion Glover, Candido, Doc Severinsen, Andrea Brachfeld, Bobby Sanabria, Harvie S., Ray Vega, Pedro Martinez, Manolo Badrena, as well other jazz and salsa artists in the United States and Europe. She has been a pianist for Lincoln Center's "Meet the Artist" program, Chicago City Limits (a New York City based improv comedy group) and "Broadway Underground" (an Off-Broadway production featuring New York's finest tap and hip-hop dancers). She has also composed for award-winning film and was commissioned by the New Jersey Tap Ensemble in 2004 to compose music for a piece choreographed by Savion Glover. She is also the Musical Director of Cocomama, an eight piece all-female salsa band.

Since 2001, she has led her own trio which features Jennifer Vincent on bass, and Willie Martinez on drums. In 2006, the trio released their debut recording, "Moliendo Café", which was named one of the "Top Ten Picks of 2006" in Latin Beat Magazine.

Ms. Denner has released two other Latin jazz CD’s as a leader, “Don’t Just Stand There” and “El Médico de Coquí” featuring Julian Llanos, former singer with Latin music legend Arsenio Rodriguez. “El Médico de Coquí” spent six months in Latin Beat magazine's Top 20 Hit Parade. In 2007, it was re-released on Consilience Productions, a new record label promoting "progressive music for the socially curious".

Along with performing, Nicki is also a devoted educator. As well as having a private teaching studio, she has served on the piano faculty of the Stanford University Summer Jazz Workshop, the Montclair State University Jazz Prep Summer Program and the New York City Tap Festival.

Sean Harkness
Sean Harkness was born in North Attleboro, Massachusetts and got his first guitar exactly eleven years later. Within six months, Sean’s trio had a weekly engagement at The Downtown Cabaret Theatre in Bridgeport, Connecticut. High school bands, Berklee College of Music in Boston, ‘busking’ the streets of Europe, the Green Mountains of Vermont, and the vast music scene in New York City have all contributed to making Harkness the seasoned professional he is today.

Windham Hill Records signed Harkness as a solo Artist shortly after his move to New York City in 1994. While on tour in Japan with the Broadway production of “Swing!” Sean connected with Artists over there that led to many return visits and eventually his recording a solo guitar CD in Okinawa for Rinken Records. Harkness has two other independent releases: the self-multitracked ‘Trio Of One’, and the fully produced ‘Harkness Knight’ with saxman Eric Knight. His latest venture 'Flights: Volume 1' with Canadian trumpeter Mike Herriott is available on ArtistShare.

The guitarist/bassist Sean Harkness is both an Artist and an accompanist. As an artist he has three CDs: "Aloft" on Windham Hill Records, "Trio of One" on Sumthing Inc. (independent), and "Urakaji" on Rinken Records in Okinawa, Japan, plus 16 compilation appearances on Windham Hill including one with Tuck & Patti.
....Eric Behrends....
The other CD, simply solo guitar, is available exclusively at live performances and funded by fans through As an accompanist Harkness leads a band every Saturday night in Manhattan for the legendary singer/songwriter Jimmy Norman. ("Time Is On My Side"). He has recorded and performed with Tuck & Patti, Will Ackerman, Liz Story, Michael Manring, Paul McCandliss, David Arkenstone, Bobby Sherman...., ....Debbie Friedman...., ....Susan Egan...., ....Alison Fraser...., ....Rebecca Luker....; .. .. shared stages with ....Odetta...., ....Louden Wainwright III...., ....Richie Havens...., ....Alex Bugnon...., ....Elements...., ....Dave Samuels....; .. .. appeared on recordings with ....Paco De Lucia...., ....Michael Hedges...., ....Russ Freeman...., ....Snuffy Walden...., ....Alex de Grassi...., ....Vicente Amigo...., ....Jay Beckenstien. Harkness's toolbox is full of guitars of many sounds. For electrics there are spanky Fender sounds, rich Gibson sounds, arch-top jazz, and even a lap steel. Classical, flat-top steel string, and arch-top acoustics all get used as well. More than just a guitarist with a bass in the closet, Harkness records and performs regularly as a bassist on either his four string fretless or 5-string fretted electric. For the odd job there's even a mandolin. .. .. Sean is a substitute guitarist on Broadway shows but prefers emerging theatre works for the enthusiasm and creative involvement. For instance he just worked on 'Doubletime' with ....Nile Rogers.... in May, and is now working on Alhambra Cafe with acclaimed violinist ....Shem Guibbory.... of the Metropolitan Opera. .. .. Sean comes to New York City via the Green mountains of Vermont. Finally after 14 years of culture shock he actually feels like a member of the community. He would even cautiously say he loves New York. .. .... Gigging since the age of 11, he began his journey as a professional musician with two years at the Berklee College of music in Boston. From there he learned about music on the streets - bartending in Boston with members of the band Tavares, gigs with Herb Reed's "The Platters", all the jams and bar bands [Harold Melvin's 'The Blue Notes', Little Joe Cook & the Thrillers…]; then as a street musician busking the public squares all over Europe for a year and a half. Meeting ....Art Blakey....'s son ....Gamal Buhaina.... brought Sean to Vermont, which he would come to call 'home'. .. .. In Burlington Harkness crossed paths with the mentor who would bring it all together for him - ....Randall B..... Plourde of Evergreen Programs. From Randall he learned how to properly touch the guitar and finds its - and his own - voice. With this he went to New York to create the career he enjoys today, performing and recording music of his own and for hire, for YOU.

Gary Wang
Acoustic bassist Gary Wang has been living and playing professionally in New York for the past fifteen years. Growing up in the Boston and San Francisco areas, he studied classical piano for several years from the age of 6, but was more interested in playing guitar in local rock groups. As a young teenager, however, he became fascinated with jazz and switched to acoustic bass at age 17. While in high school, he competed twice in the Berklee School of Music High school jazz competition with the Andover High School small ensemble, winning 2nd place in 1989 and 1st place in 1990.

In 1991, Gary attended Columbia University. He graduated in 1995 magna cum laude with a B.A. degree in Computer Science. While in college, he studied classical bass with Linda McKnight of the Manhattan School of Music and played in some of the school classical and jazz ensembles. It was only after graduating from college, however, that he decided to
dedicate himself to pursuing jazz music full time.

Since 1995, Gary has worked with in the bands of T.S. Monk, Don Braden, Stanley Turrentine, Willie Williams, Dena DeRose, David Hazeltine, Jon Gordon, Matt Wilson, and the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Ambassadors band, among many others. He has also worked with or played alongside with many of the great musicians in jazz such as, Steve Wilson, Eddie Henderson, Vincent Herring, Geri Allen, Mark Turner, Kenny Werner, Roy Hargrove, Nnenna Freelon, Dianne Reeves, Ben Monder, Patricia Barber, Jane Monheit, Eric Alexander, Bobby Watson, Howard Johnson, Ronnie Mathews, and Don Sickler, among others.

Gary has also appeared in many of the major venues in New York City, including Iridium, Sweet Basil, Jazz Standard, Birdland, Lincoln Center, and Town Hall, as well as many of the major clubs in other cities in the U.S., such as the Jazz Showcase in Chicago, The Kennedy Center and Blues Alley in Washington, D.C., and Yoshi’s in Oakland, among many others.

Gary has toured extensively with various bands in the U.S. and internationally, traveling to Europe, India, Canada, Japan, South America and the Middle East. He has played many of the major festivals in the world, including among others, Newport/JVC, Texaco, North Sea, Umbria, Montreal, Cork, Atlanta, Litchfield, Jazz Yatra in India and Montreux.

In 2002, Gary was selected, along with saxophonist Virginia Mayhew and drummer Allison Miller, to participate in a U.S. State Department Jazz Ambassadors tour. For seven weeks, the band toured many of the newly independent states of the former Soviet Union, such as Kazakhstan, Armenia, Belarus, and Ukraine, among others.

Gary’s recording credits include: T.S. Monk, Monk on Monk (Encoded Music) and Crosstalk (Encoded Music); Derek Bronston Group, Longing (Hacate) and Ebb (Labor Records); Mark Taylor, After Hours (Origin Arts) and the Sunny Jain Collective, As Is (NCM East).

William "Beaver" Bausch
Drummer William "Beaver" Bausch has played with trumpet legend Donald Byrd, Cuban trombone master Juan Pablo Torres, blues gurus Hazmat Modine, the Boys Choir of Harlem, rumberos Clave y Guaguancó, and the Mambo All-Stars, and some other people you’ve never heard of. He has recorded with renowned bassist Harvie S (the artist formerly known as Swartz), Ben Lapidus & Sonido Isleño, Grupo los Santos, Paul Carlon Octet, and flutist Kaori Fujii, among others. He has performed in the U.S., Canada, Russia, Cuba, Austria, and Japan.